Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters clash with police in Dublin | World news

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Ireland’s premier has slammed the “thuggish behaviour” and attacks on Irish police as anti-lockdown protesters stormed Dublin city centre.

A number of people were arrested after hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police as they marched through the city centre and attempted to make their way to St Stephen’s Green park.

There was a heavy police presence around the city centre ahead of the protest, which started at around 2pm, and police used batons to push protesters away from the park.

Videos of the protest show a demonstrator point a firework at gardai before it went off, while other missiles and items were thrown at the police. Protesters were prevented from gathering in the park after the Office of Public Works closed the gates.

The taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said he “utterly condemns” the protests, saying the demonstrators – many of whom did not wear masks – posed “an unacceptable risk to both the public and gardai”.

In a statement, Martin said: “The large gathering, in the face of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, showed a complete lack of respect to the people who have made huge sacrifices during this pandemic.

“Nor can we tolerate the thuggish behaviour or attacks on gardai, who have the public’s utmost respect as they continue to protect and serve our society in difficult circumstances.

“There can be no justification for the march or the violence that unfolded, and I pay tribute to members of An Garda Síochána who moved quickly to make arrests and restore order.”

The deputy premier, Leo Varadkar, said he was “horrified” to see protesters clash with police.

Varadkar tweeted: “Irish people have spent last year fighting Covid. There is no excuse for violence to gardai or anyone.

“This behaviour on Grafton St by a selfish few undermines sacrifices that millions have made in the last 12 months.”

The minister for justice, Helen McEntee, described the clashes as “completely unacceptable”.

In a statement, McEntee said that she had been told on Saturday evening that the disturbance in Dublin was being brought under control.

After a number of arrests on Saturday, a special court sitting was being arranged to ensure speedy prosecutions. Fixed charge notices were also issued to a number of people.

McEntee commended the police’s “courage and professionalism” in responding “with great control and discipline in an extremely challenging situation”.

Ireland is facing its ninth week of level 5 restrictions.

Paul Reid, head of Ireland’s health service, tweeted on Saturday about the continued improvement in the figures, adding: “Our healthcare teams are exhausted.

But getting their vaccination and the great signs of it reducing transmission is giving us all a second wind. We are winning, it’s just not over yet.”

On Friday night, the government added 13 more countries to its list in which travellers arriving from the locations have to undergo mandatory isolation for 14 days.

They include Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters clash with police in Dublin | World news

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